Author: Anoma Ranaweera, Medical Writer, Auckland, New Zealand, June 2014.
LASERs (light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation) are sources of high-intensity monochromatic (single wave length) coherent light that can be used for the treatment of various dermatologic conditions depending on the wavelength, pulse characteristics, and fluence (energy output) of the laser being used and the nature of the condition being treated.
Various kinds of lasers are available; they are differentiated by the medium that produces the laser beam. Each of the different types of lasers has a specific range of utility, depending on its wavelength and penetration.
The following skin disorders may be treated with pulsed dye laser (PDL) beams using an US Federal Drug Agency (FDA)-approved machine such as Vbeam Perfecta® (Candela Corporation, Massachusetts, USA) or flashlamp pulsed dye laser (Cynosure VLS, Massachusetts, USA).
The laser parameters used are:
It is important that the correct diagnosis has been made by the clinician prior to treatment with PDL laser, particularly when pigmented lesions are targeted, to avoid mistreatment of skin cancer such as melanoma. The patient should wear eye protection, consisting of an opaque covering or goggles, throughout treatment.
Side effects from pulse dye laser treatment are usually minor and may include:
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